Two games involving the Atsugi White Dolphins and holding U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League playoff implications were postponed Friday, according to team, league and Atsugi Naval Air Facility officials.
Atsugi was to host three-time defending champion Yokosuka on Saturday, a game called off late Friday because of heavy rainfall in the Tokyo area. Atsugi’s trip Wednesday to play Courtney-Hansen on Okinawa was postponed because of duty commitments for players.
It was not immediately known when either game would be rescheduled, league commissioner Joseph Howell said, adding that he wants them to be played regardless.
“All these games have playoff implication,” Howell said, “We want to ensure that every game is played on the field.”
Mike Favors, a duty manager answering the phone Friday evening at Atsugi’s Halsey Gym, said the base’s athletic staff pulled the plug on Saturday’s game because of fears that Reid Memorial Stadium, the White Dolphins’ home field, would be damaged by a game so soon after the heavy rains.
Atsugi also hosts its annual Bon Odori festival next Saturday.
White Dolphins associate coach Deforest Pittman said the team could not get enough players off duty to make a Wednesday trip to face the Titans. Pittman said Atsugi would travel to play Kadena on Okinawa next Saturday.
With Atsugi 3-2 and Courtney-Hansen 3-3 and each still alive for a playoff berth, Howell said he hoped to talk with Pittman, Atsugi head coach Russ Casimire, Courtney-Hansen coach Tony Bowman and Yokosuka coach Isaac Lee to hash out makeup dates soon.
“We’re looking at Sept. 6 as a possible Yokosuka-Atsugi makeup date, and Sept. 13 for an Atsugi-Courtney-Hansen makeup,” Howell said, with the playoffs, currently scheduled to start Sept. 13, beginning a week later.
The first-round playoff game, with the third-place team visiting the second-place team, would be played Sept. 20, with the title clash hosted by the regular-season champion the next Saturday.
“If we can’t make this happen, I don’t know what we’ll do,” Howell said, adding that it “behooves” the teams to decide matters on the field.
“We’ll work on it.”